Subjective Time to Retirement in Older Workers: Gender Differences in the Role of Social Networks and the Importance of Reasons to Retire

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Harbor Lounge A
Oral Presentation
Pilar RIOSECO , ARC Centre of Excellence in Population Ageing Research, Australia
Research has shown that males’ and females’ life course experiences in relation to work and family usually result in different retirement transitions and timing. Previous research has focused mainly on the effect of childbearing and caring responsibilities on females’ labour force participation and retirement transitions. However, little is known about the influence of the importance of reasons to retire and social network characteristics –particularly social support and engagement– on older workers’ expected retirement timing and how these differ for males and females. Therefore, this paper aims to identify gender differences in the determinants of subjective time to retirement, with a particular focus on social networks and the importance of reasons to retire.

The present analysis used the first wave [2010-2011] of the SNAP survey (Social Networks and Ageing Project, based at ANU), a nationwide survey of 2,122 National Seniors Australia members through a postal or online questionnaire. The analytical sample includes 662 older workers aged 50 years and over. Multiple regression was used to identify the factors that have a significant effect on subjective time to retirement. [run separately for males and females.]

Results show that several variables on the importance of reasons to retire are significant, illustrating the priorities and concerns that older workers have – different for males and females – when they balance personal life, work and retirement. For males, only work-related reasons had a significant effect whereas for females, work-related, personal and family-related reasons were significant. In addition, a number of social support and informal engagement indicators had a significant effect on females’ subjective time to retirement. On the contrary, only formal engagement was significant for males. In sum, this study demonstrates that traditional gender roles are still present in the transition to retirement, particularly in relation to subjective time to retirement.